"The reverence that people display toward human rights — it almost makes one want to defend horrible, terrible positions. It is so much a part of the softheaded thinking that marks the shabby period we were talking about. It’s pure abstraction. Human rights, after all, what does that mean? It’s pure abstraction, it’s empty. It’s exactly what we were talking about before about desire, or at least what I was trying to get across about desire. Desire is not putting something up on a pedestal and saying, hey, I desire this. We don’t desire liberty and so forth, for example; that doesn’t mean anything. We find ourselves in situations."

Gilles Deleuze

How I feel every day in my human rights class.

Also, I’m pretty sure future historians will be much more interested in why the US aids and abets the theft of Palestinian land by Israel every day, but thinks the world is coming to the end when Russia annexes the Crimea.

Hey, at least Russia went through the pretense of an election and proper procedures.

This guy is a Professor at the War College and he has officially written the worst tweet yet about Snowden.

And this guy is a serious expert who we need to respect because he has all of the right credentials: loving the US unconditionally and hating anyone who doesn’t believe in its exceptionalism.

I can’t believe this guy exists.

PS: If you supported the Iraq war and were literally part of the machine causing it to happen (as an ex-NSA guy, he was) you don’t get to worry about people bleeding and dying.

Just a reminder that Eli Lake is an awful person who trades in racism and oppression.

And he’s a “serious journalist”  who we should all pretend to respect and listen to, while someone like Rania Khalek can’t get on TV.


HRW’s argument presupposes that the slaughter of a dozen people was wrong only if it violated international law, and that, conversely, it was right if it didn’t. But all sorts of horrors are legal. “Signature strikes” — in which the US targets unidentified people who, viewed from the sky, seem like terrorists — are responsible for many, if not most, of the hundreds of civilian drone deaths, yet they’re not necessarily illegal. Likewise “double-tap” strikes in which the US tries to kill rescuers. Likewise attacks on weddings and funerals.

I want the US government to stop killing people in countries around the world. I want it to stop terrorizing populations. I want it to stop incinerating children. I want it to stop using war to give corporations money and Americans a false sense of security. I want it to stop creating anti-American violence in the name of fighting it.


David Mizner, “Bloodless Liberals”

A thought-provoking piece about how we talk about drones.

"I suppose at least a little faith in literature’s ability to make us better is what lies behind this question. But I have no such faith. The president has already read many wonderful books from many different cultures. Now we need him to act justly in certain matters: to stop killing people extrajudicially, and to stop deporting people with such enthusiasm. I doubt that more reading will quicken his conscience in these matters."

Every once in a while — most recently with the collapse of online exchange site Mt Gox — the world starts paying attention to Bitcoin, the hacker-project-cum-digital-currency that has garnered the love of a certain subset of people on the internet. Who are those people? According to an online poll from Simulacrum, the average user is a 32.1-year-old libertarian male. By users’ accounts, those men are mostly white.

Breaking that down, about 95 percent of Bitcoin users are men, about 61 percent say they’re not religious, and about 44 percent describe themselves as “libertarian / anarcho-capitalist.” On the last point, the political ideology of Bitcoin users is evident from the fact that the whole idea behind Bitcoin is that it segregates economic markets and currency from a country’s government. Bitcoin aims to be a universal currency, connecting people “peer-to-peer” instead of through set institutions. It wants to replace our current economic system and practices in their entirety — changing the way we buy goods and distribute money. The libertarians, or anarcho-capitalists as the case may be, don’t trust the government to handle their money. They’re the same people who want to “end the fed.”

Why does Bitcoin specifically have this demographic makeup? Well, there’s a fair amount of privilege built directly into the currency: In order to buy the sometimes wildly expensive currency, Bitcoin users need to be wealthy. And they can afford to put their wealth into a currency that isn’t widely accepted or even recognized. Plus, they move easily through the financial and digital space — the process of “mining” bitcoins demands it; it is all about knowing coding and decryption and how to use an exchange. The sum total of these things — advanced knowledge of computer science, wealth — are also markings of the young, white male.


Bitcoin: By the Privileged, For the Privileged

Read this article. Read it now.

And, if you want to see privilege in action, read the reddit thread about it.

"Both Roiphe and Paglia tend to understate the extent of women’s coercion by focusing on scenarios that do not add familiar power inequalities to sexualized behavior. For example, consider Paglia’s statement: “A male student makes a vulgar remark about your breasts? Don’t slink off to whimper and simper with the campus shrinking violets. Deal with it. On the spot. Say, ‘Shut up, yo ujerkl And crawl back to the barnyard where you belongl’” …This comment makes a snappy sound bite but completely neglects the ludicrousness of such a response if the comment comes, as it sometimes does, from a professor rather than a male student."

Kathryn Abrams

More reasons Paglia is awful and a reactionary conservative.

"Among the features these books share is the effort to present those who are privileged as under siege, and those who occupy normative, as opposed to marginal, social roles as courageously defending those roles and their attendant norms against a powerful radical onslaught. Like Roiphe, Paglia, and, to some extent, Wolf, they strive to make qualities or ways of life that are utterly mainstream appear transgressive."

Kathyrn Abrams describing Rush Limbaugh and Dinesh D’Souza

This is so true.

"Government’s most important technique of control is no longer watching or threatening to watch. It is analyzing and drawing connections between data."
— Jack Balkin